Since I write novels about Bible women that are published by a Seventh-day Adventist press and sold in Adventist Book Centres, this new release (from the “other” SDA press, Pacific Press) caused some confusion at my local campmeeting ABC this summer. My friend Alice who was running the ABC told me that people kept coming in, picking it up and saying, “Oh, you’ve got Trudy’s new book! Wonderful!”
Well, no. This is indeed a Biblical novel by an Adventist author with a similar name to mine, but I didn’t write it. I did, however, read it. There’s a lot to explore in the story of Bathsheba — not just the famous bathing-on-the-roof scene and its consequences, but the later years of David’s reign, and Bathsheba’s determination to have her son Solomon ascend his father’s throne. Wonderful material, and I can recognize in the later chatpers of Bathsheba much of what I tried to do in Esther: A Story of Courage — to bring to life the cloistered and competitive atmosphere of a harem, to capture the fear and power-struggles that occur in the dying years of a powerful king’s reign.
Morgan has great material to work with, and she does some interesting things with it. I do have some quibbles with the novel: the author often tells when she should show, and I wasn’t impressed with her handling of dialogue. Dialogue is tricky at the best of times, trickier in historical novels, and I know I’m relentlessly critical of dialogue that doesn’t work well (and I myself have been criticized for using overly modern-sounding dialogue in historical stories). Well, I hate to be critical, but nothing pulls me out of a story faster than dialogue that doesn’t sound believable, and I had that experience several times with Bathsheba.
That said, there’s a lot to enjoy in this book, and it does bring to life a Biblical woman whose story is intriguing and not explored as much as some others. If you enjoy Biblical fiction, you should check this one out.